India avoided $4.2 billion in fuel costs through solar generation from January to June 2022. Solar generation also avoided the need for 19.4 million tonnes of coal that would have further stressed an already strained domestic supply, according to a new report.
The report was jointly developed by Ember, CREA, and IEEFA. It explores the growth of solar power in seven key Asian countries, the potential for future growth, and the avoided fossil fuel costs due to solar electricity generation between January and June 2022.
The report states solar generation in seven key Asian countries together (China, India, Japan, South Korea, Viet Nam, the Philippines, and Thailand) avoided potential fossil fuel costs of approximately $34 billion from January to June 2022. This is equivalent to 9% of total fossil fuel costs during this period.
The majority of the estimated $34 billion savings were in China, where solar met 5% of the total electricity demand and avoided approximately $21 billion in additional coal and gas imports from January to June 2022.
Japan saw the second-highest impact, with $5.6 billion in avoided fuel costs.
The analysis shows that in the wake of soaring fossil fuel prices, solar power is already contributing to meeting electricity demand in Asia and enhancing energy security.
“In the last few months, reliance on imports of coal and gas has proven to be expensive and unreliable. Transitioning to renewable energy such as solar can help reduce the overall system costs and also reduce the burden on consumers by lowering tariffs. For energy security and economic reasons, it makes sense for India and the rest of Asia to redirect investments towards building the renewable energy ecosystem,” said Vibhuti Garg, director-South Asia at Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).
The report also analyzed the growth of solar power over the last decade, finding that five of the top ten countries with the largest solar capacities are now within Asia, including China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Viet Nam.
India has seen incredible growth, increasing its solar capacity from 0.07 GW in 2010 to 50 GW in 2021.
Ember’s Asia Electricity Analyst Dr Achmed Shahram Edianto said, “Asian countries have shown that rapid solar deployment is possible, setting a remarkable example and providing valuable lessons learned for their peers in the region. As the prices of solar and storage plummet, and the potential cost savings have started to materialize, solar dominance in Asia now looks to come much sooner than previously expected.”
The report authors estimate solar power capacity in China, India, the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia to grow at an average annual rate of 22% between 2021 and 2030, based on the existing national targets of these economies.
CREA’s Southeast Asia Analyst Isabella Suarez said, “The potential savings from existing solar alone are enormous, and expediting their deployment alongside other clean energy sources such as wind, will be crucial for energy security in the region. While ambitious targets are important, follow through will be the key thing to watch moving forward.”
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